by Kumjana Novakova
Country: North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Year: 2023
Duration: 63'

Forensic video essay constructed as a performative research into the first international criminal tribunal case to enter convictions for rape as a form of torture and sexual enslavement as a crime against humanity. While working solely with archive and testimonies, Silence of Reason acts as a memory itself: elusive, fluid, it rejects framing, moving in all directions, spatial and temporal. The singular experiences of violence and torture by women from the Foča rape camps during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina become our collective memories, surpassing time and space.


film director

Kumjana Novakova

(Macedonia) is a research-based filmmaker, film curator and lecturer, born in Yugoslavia. After studying political sciences and social research, in 2006 she co-founded the Pravo Ljudski Film Festival in Sarajevo, and acts as its chief curator. From 2018 to 2021 she was leading the Film Department of the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Skopje. As an author, Kumjana explores the languages of cinema researching relationships related to power, war, memories and (un)belonging. Her work has been shown and exhibited at festivals and galleries across the world. Her film Disturbed Earth (co-directed with Guillermo Carreras-Candi) has been shortlisted for the Academy Awards. She currently lives between Sarajevo and Skopje.


Sk (coregia/co-director Guillermo Carreras-Candi, Emilio Guerra Delgado, cm, 2014), When Clouds Burst (coregia/co-director Guillermo Carreras-Candi, cm, 2014), It Could Be a Film (cm, 2016), Disturbed Earth (coregia/co-director Guillermo Carreras-Candi, doc, 2021), Silence of Reason (doc, 2023).


film director

“I would like to imagine that each film is one more chance for us to work against the violence and absurdity of our times, the system, the unjust world we are part of. Some geographies and spaces are more oppressed than others, and for me it becomes more and more clear that we who come from these spaces are actually the ones who have the potential: survival is inscribed in our collective experiences. We carry the memory of transformation and adaptation and we carry the experience of solidarity. We lived through different times in which collective desire was felt bodily, on the opposite of an empty concept. I came to this realization after many years of working within the externally imposed white hierarchical discourses of the ‘civilized’ vs the ‘undeveloped.’ This realization and the liberation from this paradigm stand at the core of my films and work in general: we can take our own position and share our knowledges as survivors. We can take back our position and take a seat on the table. Making films from this position makes it possible for me to work against the idea of our past as a hierarchical linear storyline of victims and oppressors. So, I find more and more strength and meaning in this possibility to create new subjectivities in and through cinema that raise from the knowledges and powers that we can gift the world with.”


& Credits

DIRECTOR, SCREENPLAY, PRODUCER: Kumjana Novakova. EDITING: Jelena Maksimovic. SOUND: Vladimir Zivkovic. GRAPHIC DESIGN: Elena Dinovska Zarapciev. TEXT: Foca Witness Statements, ICTY Court Records, United Nations. CO-PRODUCER: Pravo Ljudski. PRODUCTION: Medea. CO-PRODUCTION: Sofia Tocar, East Silver Caravan. CO-PRODUCTION: Balkan Investigative Reporting Network irn.

CONTACT: Institute of Documentary Film (Sofia Tocar) tocar@dokweb.net